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Raise the Bar!

This summer I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Diane McKee, 2016 Florida Teacher of the Year! We had gotten to know each other through a platform she created for all Florida District Teachers of the Year. At the State Roundtable, she shared with us how she "raises the bar" with her students!

Each year she hangs this red bar in her classroom. As her students enter they tap it to remind themselves that their dreams are within their reach. She shared with us how this bar became a symbol of motivation for her students. She watched them set down a pencil in frustration, glance at the bar, and find it within themselves to pick that pencil up and dig deep.

This red bar helped Diane create a culture of perseverance. Students came to believe that they were capable of doing rigorous work to success. This growth mindset, combined with an incredible amount of love and dedication, led her students to achieve top scores in the District and State.

When Diane won Florida Teacher of the Year, her father told her he would help her make as many red bars as she needed. {Parents are so generous in those proud moments} When it came time to give her final speech to the next group of District TOY's, that's just what he did. Diane gifted us with both this incredible story and a red bar to hang in our classrooms to help us inspire our students to reach far enough to do their best work each day!

I was so inspired by this story and I truly wanted thank the faculty at my school for first giving me the opportunity to represent our sweet school and go on to become Teacher of the Year for the entire District. I also wanted to find a way to share this incredible experience with them. When I returned to Jacksonville, my parents volunteered to help me create the same gift for my faculty. We spent the last few weeks of the summer cutting, drilling, sanding, painting, and stringing red bars for every classroom in my school.

Students tap the bar walking into class each morning.
Since sharing Diane's story with the teachers at my school I've watched this idea grow and touch teachers in other schools and other districts. It's incredible to see such an inspiring idea motivate teachers and children beyond your own personal reach!

Thank you Diane, for inspiring us all to "Raise the Bar!"

Poster created by a kindergarten teacher to explain the purpose of the bar!

Students tap the bar walking into Media each day!

1 comment

  1. I absolutely LOVE the sign explaining the red bar! What an incredible way to reaffirm this thinking for students, teachers, and even parents! I wonder if a parent walking into your classroom, seeing that sign, goes home thinking how they can challenge their children to meet high expectations at home too! I know it would inspire me!
    -Jessica Solano :)


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